Finally passed NCLEX-RN on 4th attempt! Here's my journey and tips! :)

  1. 7

    After all of the sleepless nights, anxiety attacks and hardcore studying, NCLEX journey is finally over for me. Trust me, if I did it, you can do it too. Here's my story...

    Finally passed NCLEX-RN on 4th attempt! Here's my journey and tips! :)

    1st Attempt

    I graduated nursing school with BSN in December '15. My school has a very high passing rate on the first attempt, so I had no doubt I would pass, after all, I was B+/A student in nursing school, how bad could NCLEX really be. I didn't take NCLEX seriously. I scheduled my exam for February, was getting 50s-60s on Kaplan Q bank, got 58% of Rediness test. I did 50 NCLEX questions per day, read the rationales for every wrong answer, and that's it, I figured that all of the knowledge I had from nursing school was good enough, plus it's impossible to re-read everything. When I took the exam, the computer shut off at 114 questions and I got a big FAIL 2 days later. The only thing I used was Kaplan Q bank.

    2nd Attempt

    Okay, this is not as easy as I thought. I underestimated the exam and it was my fault. I took me about a month before I started studying again due to family problems (BIG mistake to wait that long). I decided that I didn't use Kaplan right, so I wanted to give it a try one more time. This time I watched every single video in Kaplan, did every question trainer and took notes on anything that was new to me or felt was important, as I continued using the Q bank questions that were left. I reviewed every right and every wrong answer to make sure I understood why they were wrong. I also bought NCSBN, finished the course while taking notes, and did half of their questions (scored around 70-75% on them). In addition, I used Saunders Q&A review. I studied for about 4-5 hours a day every day except weekends for about 2 months before I felt like I was ready to try again. Went to take the test, got to 240 question and ran out of time. I was devastated. I used Kaplan fully, Saunders Q&A review and NCSBN course.

    3rd Attempt

    I cried, I cried, I cried. After all, I really tried last time, and it didn't work. Watching my classmates getting jobs while I still couldn't pass the exam made me feel so dumb. It was getting closer to summer, all of my friends were making plans to go out, and all I thought about was NCLEX. I knew I had to finish this before I can finally relax. I downloaded NCLEX Mastery app and bought Lippincotts Q&A. I also watched lots of Youtube videos on tips, downloaded a study guide for all nurses and other study aids and tricks that I found online, and I reviewed them every once in a while. I used NCLEX mastery everywhere I went. Even when I went to a birthday party, I couldn't allow myself to have fun so I was in my phone doing NCLEX questions from the app. I did around 200 NCLEX questions daily for around 2 months before I tried again. I went in August, got all 265 questions and a big FAIL 2 days later. I used NCLEX Mastery app, Lippincott's Q&A and notes/tips that I found online

    4th Attempt

    At this point, NCLEX became my life. I cut everyone off from my life. My friends, my family. I saw no future ahead of me, the only thing I saw was NCLEX. Everyday. Every night. I even had dreams where I was studying, then I woke up and went to the library to study, fell asleep at night and got more dreams where I study (can I say I was studying 24/7? lol). I was falling into a depression because if I'm already doing everything that's in my power and can't pass....then how am I supposed to pass? What if I'm not meant to be an RN? What am I missing? Do I really have to re-read every single thing? But that's over 1000s pages, how am I supposed to memorize that? Even if I'll know every single symptom and intervention for every disease, that still doesn't guarantee that I'll pass, because the exam is all about prioritizing and critical thinking.

    I drove to the library and studied every single day (1 day off a week) from the time I wake up (10am-11am) until late evening (10pm-11pm). I purchased uworld. I did 75 questions in untimed tutor mode and took notes on every single question (yes on every single question, unless you know the topic in your sleep). I had around 7-8 pages of handwritten notes after finishing the 75 questions. I continued using NCLEX Mastery app everywhere I went and before sleep. I also made drugs notecards, I wrote down every single med that I saw and didn't know. At the end I had around 400-500 notecards that I reviewed DAILY until the day of my exam. I also created isolation precaution note cards that I reviewed daily. I created a huge binder so I could keep everything organized, put all of the online notes/tips and my handwritten notes there. I reviewed that binder DAILY before doing the 75 Uworld questions and every day I added more drug cards and handwritten notes to the binder to study. I kept doing that since beginning of September until a week before my exam date on October 24th. When I had a week left, the only thing I changed was I started doing Uworld in timed non-tutor mode instead of untimed tutor (still reviewed and took notes on every question). 1 day before the exam I didn't do an more questions, I just reviewed my notes and my note cards. The next day I had the exam at 8am, I woke up at 5am (I went to sleep early so I guess it worked! haha), ate healthy breakfast, drove to the testing center and reviewed my binder and notecards before going in. I said the prayer. My computer shut off at 140 questions, and I freaked out. I was sure I failed because near the end I wasn't getting any of those "bolded" or priority questions. 2 days later I found out I PASSED! It felt so surreal. I used Uworld, NCLEX Mastery app, LaCharity Prioritization, Delegation & Assessment book and notes/tips I found online.

    Here are the study tips that I wish someone would have told me:

    • Keep a consistent schedule what you're going to study and when (might not seem like it's important, but it is)
    • Don't take too many "days off" between studying, or else you'll start to forget and will have to do everything all over again. You have to study every single day or at least every other day if you want to retain information. Studying for a week and taking 3-4 days break will not lead to anything good.
    • While taking NCLEX, treat it just like any other practice test, it will ease your anxiety
    • Treat all of your timed practice tests just like actual NCLEX
    • Before clicking 'next', tell yourself "okay, so if I won't help this person, they will die. The rest will not die and can wait". If it makes sense to you, click 'next'
    • On SATA, not every option relates to your questions. The answer might seem good and look like it wont do any harm, but if it has nothing to do with what the question is asking, then it's most likely wrong answer
    • Note cards is probably the best way to memorize drugs
    • Embrace it, become a nurse on emotional level (start thinking like a nurse even in everyday life)
    • You can do it! Don't give up and don't stop believing!

    Sources that worked for me:
    • uworld!!!! It truly prepared me for SATA. The questions seemed harder than the actual exam.
    • LaCharity. The questions seemed harder than the exam, and I feel like it really trained my critical thinking.
    • NCLEX Mastery app. The questions are also tough + you can use this app everywhere you go
    • Lippincott's Q&A. It was alright, it also had alot of challenging questions, and it trained my critical thinking, but not as good as LaCharity.

    Sources that did not work for me:
    • Kaplan. Fully finished the course and didn't work.
    • NCSBN. I felt like their course wasn't detailed enough, and the questions didn't give good rationales.
    • Saunders Q&A. I feel like the questions were too easy, I was getting 80s-90s on it and still failed

    Feel free to message me if anyone wants any of my notes or needs any help!
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 11, '17
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  2. Visit ally1991 profile page

    About ally1991, BSN, RN

    Joined Nov '13; Posts: 16; Likes: 8.

    Read My Articles

    86 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Moved to the NCLEX forum

    Congratulations
  4. by   Oleacronon
    CONGRATS!! For Saunders, did you use the online question bank, or the questions from the book?
  5. by   Flnolegirl
    Congrats job well done
  6. by   lakersfan24
    congrats on passing! i will be sitting for the nclex.. may i have your notes...dexdavid107@gmail.com

    Quote from ally1991
    After all of the sleepless nights, anxiety attacks and hardcore studying, NCLEX journey is finally over for me. Trust me, if I did it, you can do it too. Here's my story:

    1st attempt) I graduated nursing school with BSN in December '15. My school has a very high passing rate on the first attempt, so I had no doubt I would pass, after all I was B+/A student in nursing school, how bad could NCLEX really be. I didn't take NCLEX seriously. I scheduled my exam for February, was getting 50s-60s on Kaplan Q bank, got 58% of Rediness test. I did 50 NCLEX questions per day, read the rationales for every wrong answer, and that's it, I figured that all of the knowledge I had from nursing school was good enough, plus it's impossible to re-read everything. When I took the exam, the computer shut off at 114 questions and I got a big FAIL 2 days later. The only thing I used was Kaplan Q bank.

    2nd attempt) Okay, this is not as easy as I thought. I underestimated the exam and it was my fault. I took me around a month before I started studying again due to family problems (BIG mistake to wait that long). I decided that I didn't use Kaplan right, so I wanted to give it a try one more time. This time I watched every single video in Kaplan, did every question trainer and took notes on anything that was new to me or felt was important, as I continued using the Q bank questions that were left. I reviewed every right and every wrong answer to make sure I understood why they were wrong. I also bought NCSBN, finished the course while taking notes, and did half of their questions (scored around 70-75% on them). In addition I used Saunders Q&A review. I studied for about 4-5 hours a day everyday except weekends for about 2 months before I felt like I was ready to try again. Went to take the test, got to 240 question and ran out of time. I was devastated. I used Kaplan fully, Saunders Q&A review and NCSBN course.

    3rd attempt) I cried, I cried, I cried. After all, I really tried last time, and it didn't work. Watching my classmates getting jobs while I still couldn't pass the exam made me feel so dumb. It was getting closer to summer, all of my friends were making plans to go out, and all I thought about was NCLEX. I knew I had to finish this before I can finally relax. I downloaded NCLEX Mastery app and bought Lippincotts Q&A. I also watched lots of Youtube videos on tips, downloaded a study guide from all nurses and other study aids and tricks that I found online, and I reviewed them every once in a while. I used NCLEX mastery everywhere I went. Even when I went to a birthday party, I couldn't allow myself to have fun so I was in my phone doing NCLEX questions from the app. I did around 200 NCLEX questions daily for around 2 months before I tried again. I went in August, got all 265 questions and a big FAIL 2 days later. I used NCLEX Mastery app, Lippincott's Q&A and notes/tips that I found online

    4th attempt) At this point, NCLEX became my life. I cut everyone off from my life. My friends, my family. I saw no future ahead of me, the only thing I saw was NCLEX. Everyday. Every night. I even had dreams where I was studying, then I woke up and went to the library to study, fell asleep at night and got more dreams where I study (can I say I was studying 24/7? lol). I was falling into a depression because if I'm already doing everything that's in my power and can't pass....then how am I supposed to pass? What if I'm not meant to be an RN? What am I missing? Do I really have to re-read every single thing? But that's over 1000s pages, how am I supposed to memorize that? Even if I'll know every single symptom and intervention for every disease, that still doesn't guarantee that I'll pass, because exam is all about prioritizing and critical thinking.
    I drove to the library and studied every single day (1 day off a week) from the time I wake up (10am-11am) until late evening (10pm-11pm). I purchased uworld. I did 75 questions in untimed tutor mode and took notes on every single question (yes on every single question, unless you know the topic in your sleep). I had around 7-8 pages of handwritten notes after finishing the 75 questions. I continued using NCLEX Mastery app everywhere I went and before sleep. I also made drugs notecards, I wrote down every single med that I saw and didn't know. At the end I had around 400-500 notecards that I reviewed DAILY until the day of my exam. I also created isolation precaution note cards that I reviewed daily. I created a huge binder so I could keep everything organized, put all of the online notes/tips and my handwritten notes there. I reviewed that binder DAILY before doing the 75 uworld questions and everyday I added more drug cards and handwritten notes to the binder to study. I kept doing that since beginning of September until a week before my exam date on October 24th. When I had a week left, the only thing I changed was I started doing uworld in timed non-tutor mode instead of untimed tutor (still reviewed and took notes on every question). 1 day before the exam I didn't do an more questions, I just reviewed my notes and my note cards. The next day I had exam at 8am, I woke up at 5am (I went to sleep early so I guess it worked! haha), ate healthy breakfast, drove to the testing center and reviewed my binder and notecards before going in. I said the prayer. My computer shut off at 140 questions, and I freaked out. I was sure I failed, because near the end I wasn't getting any of those "bolded" or priority questions. 2 days later I found out I PASSED! It felt so surreal. I used uworld, NCLEX Mastery app, LaCharity Prioritization, Delegation & Assessment book and notes/tips I found online.



    Here are the study tips that I wish someone would have told me:

    • Keep a consistent schedule what you're going to study and when (might not seem like it's important, but it is)
    • Don't take too many "days off" between studying, or else you'll start to forget and will have to do everything all over again. You have to study every single day or atleast every other day if you want to retain information. Studying for a week and taking 3-4 days break will not lead to anything good.
    • While taking NCLEX, treat it just like any other practice test, it will ease your anxiety
    • Treat all of your timed practice tests just like actual NCLEX
    • Before clicking 'next', tell yourself "okay, so if I won't help this person, they will die. The rest will not die and can wait". If it makes sense to you, click 'next'
    • On SATA, not every option relates to your questions. The answer might seem good and look like it wont do any harm, but if it has nothing to do with what the question is asking, then it's most likely wrong answer
    • Note cards is probably the best way to memorize drugs
    • Embrace it, become a nurse on emotional level (start thinking like a nurse even in everyday life)
    • You can do it! Don't give up and don't stop believing!



    Sources that worked for me:
    • uworld!!!! It truly prepared me for SATA. The questions seemed harder than the actual exam.
    • LaCharity. The questions seemed harder than the exam, and I feel like it really trained my critical thinking.
    • NCLEX Mastery app. The questions are also tough + you can use this app everywhere you go
    • Lippincott's Q&A. It was alright, it also had alot of challenging questions, and it trained my critical thinking, but not as good as LaCharity.



    Sources that did not work for me:
    • Kaplan. Fully finished the course and didn't work.
    • NCSBN. I felt like their course wasn't detailed enough, and the questions didn't give good rationales.
    • Saunders Q&A. I feel like the questions were too easy, I was getting 80s-90s on it and still failed


    Feel free to message me if anyone wants any of my notes or needs any help!
  7. by   dt171400
    Congratulation on passing NCLEX!!! You story inspires me a lot. I'm currently struggling with organizing my notes to have an effective study for my upcoming NCLEX. Please help me out by sending your notes so I will have additional resource and I can update those informations that my study notes might be missing. I would appreciate your help!!! My email address is: m2mb3b@yahoo.com.
  8. by   ally1991
    I used questions from the book, 6th edition. I heard that lot's of people love it, which is why I tried it. But it didn't work for me, I liked the other sources better.
  9. by   ally1991
    Sent it to you both dt171400 and lakersfan24
  10. by   Oleacronon
    @ally1991, BSN I heard that the questions in the book are super easy, but the book's online questions are difficult
  11. by   Soon_RniA
    Congratulations, many more blessings! Can you please send me your notes. Journeyofguidance@gmail.com. Thank you so much
  12. by   ally1991
    Oh, I didn't know that. I'd try the online version if I knew
    Quote from Oleacronon
    @ally1991, BSN I heard that the questions in the book are super easy, but the book's online questions are difficult
  13. by   allykatt12
    Congrats to you RN!! Thank you so kindly for posting your process and for giving excellent advice. I am a 4th repeater and I am excited to read U World assisted you in becoming a RN. I have tried Kaplan, Hurst, and ATI. I will focus on U World this time and try my best to decrease my anxiety. Thank you again for your inspiration!!
  14. by   chicagoboy
    Congratulations on your success. Is it possible to get a copy of your notes? My email address is pwl_boy_1971@ymail.com.

    Thanks again

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